A victory for life on euthanasia before the European Court of Human Rights

Euthanasia was on the docket on Tuesday before the European Court of Human Rights, and the right to life prevailed.

Although the human rights tribunal did not rule against Belgium’s euthanasia law, it found that the country had violated the right to life enshrined in Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights. the man during the euthanasia of Godelieva de Troyer in 2012.

At age 64, de Troyer died by lethal injection. His euthanasia was based on nothing more than a diagnosis of “incurable depression”. She was in good physical health.

De Troyer’s son, Tom Mortier, received a call from the hospital to collect his belongings. He did not know that his mother had been euthanized.

Thus began Mortier’s harrowing journey to Europe’s highest human rights court. He had previously taken no position against euthanasia, but he was determined to seek justice for his mother.

The Human Rights Tribunal ruled on Tuesday in Mortier v. Belgium that the Belgian euthanasia commission did not have the independence required to provide effective oversight, which constitutes a violation of de Troyer’s right to life.

This agenda-driven commission, headed by Belgium’s most ardent euthanasia advocate, simply could not be held accountable for the inherently corrupt practice of state-sanctioned medical murder. Notably, this euthanasia advocate is the very person who administered de Troyer’s lethal injection.

Although the human rights tribunal did not take a stand against euthanasia as a whole, pointing to the problems of the euthanasia commission as the basis for the violation of the right to life, the tribunal’s decision indicates clearly that legal “guarantees” can never make euthanasia safe. .

Paradoxically, the court ruled in favor of more “safeguards” to improve the practice of euthanasia at the same time as it considered that these same legal protections were insufficient in this case to preserve the right to life.

That said, the decision is clear: De Troyer’s right to life has indeed been violated, and no law or protocol can ever make legalized euthanasia “safe.”

Tom Mortier appealed to the European Court of Human Rights over the death by euthanasia of his mother, Godelieva de Troyer, in 2012. (Photo courtesy of Tom Mortier)

>>> Related: Doctors Killed His Mom Because She Was Depressed. Now he speaks out against euthanasia.

Belgian law specifies that to benefit from euthanasia, a person must be in a “medically futile state of constant and unbearable physical or mental suffering, resulting from a serious and incurable disorder caused by an illness or an accident”. .

Depression is by no means “medically futile” and should never be a death sentence. De Troyer’s longtime doctor even noted that she potentially didn’t meet the legal criteria.

What does his death for this diagnosis signal about the care and support we should provide to people with mental health issues? Are we simply abandoning the vulnerable? As Belgium makes clear, the “slippery slope” of euthanasia is all too real.

What happened in Belgium and other countries with similar trajectories paints a bleak picture of the “dying with dignity” narrative.

Data shows that Belgium is approaching 30,000 deaths by euthanasia over the past two decades, and this number is more than likely significantly underreported.

Euthanasia is now the cause of 1 in 50 deaths in Belgium. Since last year, nearly 1 in 5 people euthanized in Belgium are not expected to die naturally in the near future. Additionally, in 2014, the country legalized euthanasia for children, with no lower age limit.

Invisible are the thousands of cases that do not reach the highest court in the land. By its very nature, euthanasia is plagued with human rights violations. Although nuanced, the court’s decision of a right to life violation is an irrefutable indication that there is no law or protocol that can mitigate the dangers inherent in the practice, not only for the person being euthanized but also for his family and society as a whole.

Here in the United States, let us take note of this seminal judgment and resist any encroachment on the euthanasia agenda.

Fortunately, in a case filed by Alliance Defending Freedom, a federal district court recently ruled that a California law likely violates the First Amendment rights of medical professionals by requiring them to participate in physician-assisted suicide against their religious beliefs and professional ethics.

We must stand firm against a culture of death that denies the truth of what it means to accompany someone in their suffering.

A society that encourages vulnerable people to end their lives can never be truly progressive, and no “guarantees” can ever make euthanasia safe.

The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here should be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation.

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